Monday, October 5, 2015

Shit. Relapse.

I don't swear. Till today.
Shit is all I want to say.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Doesn't help. Never did.
Visiting my man-son for the weekend; graduated, employed and doing seemingly great in a new career.
My worst fears were confirmed after spending two days with him ...
Insatiable appetite
Sleeping half the day
Carrying a back pack for a simple walk (he probably didn't know how long we would be)
Long bathroom breaks
Simple decisions: hard
Not the same

God help him.
God help me.

I feel stronger, ironically enough.
But I think the wall will cave when I get home from the airport and security checkpoints.
Yes, in the bedroom I will cave.

Cry in the arms of my husband.
Cry in an empty house.
Cry and pray.
God, are you listening?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

There is Hope. I am Living it.

The seemingly impossible happened.
My son is sober.
We celebrated his two year "birthday" this June.
Our nightmare seems to be fading into an ugly memory
though I'm sure I will never forget.
I revisit it on occasion, only to shake my head in wonder and amazement that life is so very different today.

My beautiful boy is holding a job - and excelling. A senior manager recently told him he is the second most profitable employee of their store (retail electronics) and he was given a 10% raise. This is the same boy that could not hold a job, hated every boss, and could barely make it to work on time.

My beautiful boy is back in school - and doing better than any other time of his life. He just finished three consecutive terms of full-time community college. He has a 4.0 cum GPA and was asked by one teacher to enter the English Honors program. He couldn't accept because he is transfering to a 4-year university in the Fall. This is the same boy that was never motivated in school, only maintained a B-C average, and miserably flunked out of his first term at university.

My beautiful boy wants to spend time with family - over the last two years he has eagerly accepted invitations to family vacations and reunions, coming from beginning to end, and happily engaging in all the activities.

My beautiful boy sponsors others in recovery - I'm not sure of the count but I know of at least three young men he has sponsored. When I asked if he would be willing to speak with one young man who was struggling to stay sober (whose parents I met in Alanon) he replied, "You don't have to ask, Mom. Just give my phone number to anyone that wants help".

My beautiful boy serves, laughs, works out, has friends - he is genuinely happy. He is fun to be around. He has a pile of friends. He even has a girlfriend. And I think in many ways he's healthier at 26 years old than many other young men his same age because he has learned some amazing life skills that often take others a lifetime to learn: how to be honest, how to set boundaries, how to ask for support when you're struggling, how to let go of selfishness...

Does it seem too good to be true? If you would have talked to me 2-3 years ago I would have agreed with you. But I am here to tell you that my son has come back to me. It has been one small step at a time, just seeing hints of little changes in his early recovery days; but consistent and steady changes month upon month - and now - year upon year!

I don't allow myself to think for a moment that he is out of the woods. I'm not sure I will ever believe that he has 'made it' because I have learned of the insidious nature of addiction. I have heard too many stories of people who relapsed after years of sobriety. But I do have hope. With every laugh I hear, with every good decision I witness, with every wonderful interaction I observe with family members, I have hope.

I don't have an answer to the 'why' question. I still have to work at letting go of that desire for God to be accountable to me. In fact, the truth is, I have much recovery work to do in spite of this good report. My faith has taken a serious blow. I often liken it to the aftermath of a car wreck; outwardly, everything looks fine but under the hood some things are still broken. This five-year journey has been nothing short of traumatic, and I have to learn to trust my God again. He will have to help me because I have been unable to fix the problem myself. In time, I know He will.

I was not aware I could love so deeply until my son was in the throes of his addiction - I loved him more fiercely in the lowest and darkest time of his life than I have ever loved anyone or anything. I would have given my life for him to gain his back. Fortunately, it didn't require such a cost.

I pray he continues to choose sobriety, especially when the inevitable tough times come.
I pray God will redeem what was lost, as this is His specialty; making beauty from ashes.
I pray your son or daughter will find the support, the courage, and the means to find his/her own path to a better life.

Thank you for reading with me. Every time I pour out my heart in this place I feel the small broken fibers of my heart reconnecting, healing, strengthening.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another mother loses her beautiful boy

"Call me" lit up my iPhone display yesterday.
A text message from my son.
It took me 30 minutes to break away from my time-sensitive urgent tasks and make the call.
He answered his phone and in tears blurted out, "Corey's dead".

Corey was my son's good friend who he met in rehab.
They became house-mates in an extended recovery program and a friendship developed.
I met him when my son brought a few of his 'new' friends home for dinner.
Corey was the one that stood out.
Handsome. Gregarious. Polite. Appreciative of the home-made meal. And oh, how he made us laugh. We were all doubled over in laughter at his stories.
Surely, this young man has a future ahead of him, I thought.

Our young friend (early 30s) had 18 months sobriety until yesterday when he overdosed.
Heroin, I'm sure. Details are still unknown.
Does it matter?
I can't sleep as I am overcome with saddness for the loss
and for the stabbing ache that must be devastating his mother.
I don't know her well, though we shared a few rides to Alanon many months ago.
Our schedules didn't always match. Then I stopped seeing her. I don't know if she is attending somewhere else.
Now I know why in the last couple weeks I have felt prompted to call her; "Hi S, would you like to attend a meeting with me tonight?"
I never called.
But now I will.
What I will say, I have no idea. I just have a longing to put my arms around her.
I want to bring her a lemon cheesecake.
One like I made for Corey when he celebrated his one year 'birthday'.
I had never seen such gratitude from anyone. He LOVED lemon cheesecake.

Oh, my God, please help this devastated family.
Please wrap your arms around this mama. Yours are bigger than mine.
Please help my son, and all of Corey's friends to comfort one another.
Please help me reach out to this mom in a meaningful way.

My day is calling so I must go.
Please pray for my mom-friend. She will need all the support she can get.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Ten Months Yesterday"

"Ten mo yesterday!" was the text I received from Dan just a few days ago. I cannot help but recall the hell I was living in this month last year. What a stark contrast. My son is returning to me. Slowly but surely, his 'old self' is coming back. His ability to have TONS of friends, his sense of humor, his willingness to help with the dishes.

I'm still waiting for other things to return. Not sure if they will. Maybe it just takes awhile. Waiting for him to want to grow up faster, to get focused on college or a career. Do you think I'm dreaming? He talks about it. I don't know yet if it's just talk. At least a few steps in the right direction: FASFA app submitted. Pell Grant confirmed as being available. Registered for the Fall. Will he be ready for the commitment? Will the stress be manageable? "One day at a time" - yes, I remember.

While I still worry and have my doubts and fears for the future, I have so much to be thankful for. He is clean. He is in sober housing. He is supporting other friends in recovery - even getting some into recovery. My salesman, now a recovery evangelist. Praise the Lord. My God, guide him.

I hope my online friends are finding ways to live One Day At A Time. I don't visit here as often as when I was in full-blown crisis, but I enjoy returning to do some catch-up reading and post an occasional thought.

Blessings to you all.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Taking responsibility...And yet...

The first act Daniel took after rehab was to turn himself into the sherrif's office for not completing diversion training for a DUI 3 years ago. Upon hearing that he's 4 months sober, has a sponsor and is living in an Oxford house, the judge let him go without bail and simply said to show up to court 3 weeks later.

3 weeks ended this Wednesday and Daniel faithfully appeared in court in his Sunday-best looking better than ever. His 3 buddies (all graduages from the same program) tagged along for moral support. Daniel was sentenced to 48 hours in jail, 2 yrs parole, and some fines, of course. He was disappointed, but the judge explained that had he resolved it within the year, he would not have been sentenced as such. But it had been over 3 yrs, so that was that.

Driving him home (48 hrs later), I heard all about how terrible jail is and of all the rules included in his parole. Rules like not setting foot in a bar, not leaving the state without permission, being subject to random drug screens, etc. After getting an earful, I asked, "Do you think any of this will help you?" To my surprise, he said, "Absolutely, I need all the accountability I can get." And he went on to say how it will be easier to tell others that he cannot go to a bar/club due to parole rather than to divulge that he's an addict. I immediately understood that there are just some people that don't need to know. I've got my own list of them.

So off we went to IOP (intensive out-patient) where I joined him for a family session. Sigh.

Yes, it's great to be in this place of recovery. I never imagined we could have come so far in 5 months. I am quick to share with my close friends the good things that are happening. And yet, deep down, I wonder if it will last. And I am deeply grieved the my son's social group consists exclusively of recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. How I wish he was shooting the breeze with college classmates. I wonder why he is so quick to identify with the criminals he met in jail. He seems fascinated with their stories; I can only take so much of them.. They are so far removed from the life we had together, it confuses me.  Outwardly, I am upbeat and positive. Inwardly, I am still so disappointed, grieved, and sad. I don't know how to explain it. Maybe I'm in some sort of denial and not wanting to face the ugly reality that my son is still an addict and will struggle with that his entire life. I'm tired trying to figure it out. Good night, everyone.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Checking in

It has been 3 weeks since my son left rehab. He has transitioned to a sober living community and is attending AA almost daily and an intensive outpatient program 3 nights a week. He is checking in with me and even brought 3 of his new buddies home for dinner last night. It was a great evening, talking openly about their recovery experience, the nicknames they've given each other, and the funny things their counselor said during treatment. I learned that I, together with two other mothers (whose sons were eating with us) have been dubbed "The Tender Trio". How funny is that? More so, it is beautiful that they have learned to see with more compassionate eyes what they have put their family through. When they left, I closed the door behind me and the first thought in my mind was, "So THIS is what it's supposed to be like!"

You see, in the past, Daniel didn't really want to socialize with me and rarely brought friends home. If we had dinner together, the conversation was shallow and just long enough till he was done with his dinner. How refreshing it was to have him back for an evening. And I actually liked his friends. Sweet boys. Young. Vulnerable. But sweet. God, I pray they make it.

Today Dan reported to the courthouse for not completing diversion training (DUI a few years ago). His 'rehab' success story helped, but he still has to spend 48 hours in jail and be on probation a couple years. After receiving this news by phone from one of his friends that went to court with him, I hung up and told myself "I'm going to live my life" and continued with my plan to shop over my lunch hour.

We have both made progress. We are both in recovery. We are both learning to live our lives differently. I am learning that I need to live my own life, regardless of the good/bad that happens in his. He is learning that being honest and responsible means facing the consequences. Good lessons. Hard lessons.

And how are all of you? I'll have to go browse your blogs...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I did it, Mom!

I picked up Daniel from rehab today.
He gave me a big hug saying "I did it, Mom" and cried.
We both did.

So begins a new chapter...for  both of us.

If anyone is looking for a fantastic but very intensive program that is designed for the addict that keeps relapsing, I suggest you consider the ExSL program at Serenity Lane in Eugene Oregon. For the person that has hit their bottom, this program yields amazing results. The amazing thing is that there is a fantastic recovery community in the town. Alumni continue their involvement with current patients and provide support and a bridge to the community after the program is over.  Daniel has developed relationships with ExSL alum who have months and years of sobriety. The counseling team is dedicated and highly-skilled. Though a great deal of therapy occurs among the patients themselves.

I realize there are no guarentees in this journey and I may sound overly optomistic. I'm not, actually. But if you saw the before and after picture of my son, you would understand that miracles happen here.

That's all for now. Praise the Lord for new beginnings.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Season Begins

Tomorrow, my beloved son completes his 4-month stay in a wonderful rehab program. While we are very impressed with the team that surrounded him, amazed with the changes we have observed, and hopeful with the incredible recovery community he has discovered, I have also learned that his sobriety rests squarely on his shoulders. Hmmm, he has not managed it very well for the past years. Will these new tools he has gained be sufficient to guide him? Will he continue to have the drive and will to do whatever it takes? Will he be humble enough to remain accountable to his sponsor and new friends? Will he secure and be able to keep a job? Will we begin getting crisis phone calls again?
I am working hard at not future-tripping. So easy to do.
It helped that I attended an Al-Anon meeting tonight.
Here is what I heard:
  • Focus on my life: what can I do to make it a good day?
  • Decide now what I will do if my fears are realized (relapse)
  • Determine to do nothing (and give him the dignity of growing up)
The next days and weeks will be a major adjustment for both of us. He will be working to get on his feet, find a job, structure his day, follow through on his out-patient treatment. He will move into a clean-and-sober house with about 6 other young men, most of whom, have completed the same program he did. I am relieved he has a safe place to go because our home is not an option.
I will be working on not obsessing about the possible failures, taking care of myself, being patient, trying to sleep without worry.
That's all.
It will be a good day. A turning point. A new beginning. Please God, guide us all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You know what sucks?

Having your bosses daughter (who is the same age as my son) show up as an intern on the employee payroll
...I'm actually very happy for both of them. I have a tremendous respect for my former manager and I am glad his daughter is successful at this stage of life. It just hurts a bit because it's another reminder. I guess the trick is not dwelling on it.

Talking to your son and feeling like you're a million miles apart
...we talked this morning. It's all business. He needs more money (we are holding his savings while he's in rehab). Even though he's doing well, in a highly supervised program, I can't help but feel suspicious when he asks for money. I NEVER had this problem in the past because I always trusted him. Now I'm trying to navigate in the aftermath of lies, manipulation, and deceit. More learning is needed. God grant me the serenity...

Waking up in the morning feeling angry about nothing
...This week has been so strange. Feeling good one minute, angry the next, and general saddness whenever I'm alone with time to think. Most evenings I go to bed sad and wake up angry. I know I'm grieving. How I wish I could press the 'fast forward' button.

Struggling with my faith in spite a long and strong walk with God I'm one of those that is not supposed to struggle. I've been a leader within my Christian community for almost 3 decades. I am currently "on leave" from being the leader of a intra-campus Bible study at work. My faith has survived an abusive husband, a painful divorce, being a single parent with sole financial responsibility of my son, a demanding job, a broken engagement, depression. Somehow, I have managed to hold onto my faith though all these things. I think deep down I understood how I played a part due to poor deicions I made. But this one is different. I suppose that I believe that if I did my part God would do his. Intellectually, I understand Daniel has a will of his own that God will not violate. Yet, somehow, I feel betrayed and let down. I believe I'll live through this valley of despair, but I sure am feeling disconnected from  God right now.

OK, it doesn't all suck. A few things are pretty cool:
  • living in the northwest during a beautiful sunny day of 85 degrees
  • enjoying time alone when hubby's away on a trip (I'm an "I" in Meyer's Briggs type inventory. As an introvert, I re-charge by spending time alone)
  • being healthy enough to participate in a 50-mile bike ride (coming up in 2 weeks). It is good to have something to look forward to, and something to motivate me to workout (especially since I'm lacking in the motivation department these days).
  • having a husband that really loves me (I finally got it right - picking a good man!)
  • having a good job that supplies a regular pay check.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Biking helps

Friday we returned home from a week at the beach. Saturday my husband left on a trip and I found myself alone in a big house with way too many thoughts of my son, my life, and why I am not happy with the state of either one. I could not get myself motivated and ate more than I should have. I suppose I was wallowing.
Later that evening I learned there was an organized bike ride in our city scheduled for the next day. I decided to register.
So this morning, I ventured out alone to join a bunch of other crazy cyclists, spinning their pedals all over town. I elected the longest route (not that long, really: 35 miles). The ride ended at a big food event in downtown. So I decided to hang around and enjoy some food and chef demonstrations.
As a result of my spontaneous decisions, I had a really good day - the antithesis of Saturday!
So glad I decided to go for a ride. Hopefully, this will get my week off to a good start.